Baby, I’m Yours
Teacher Catherine MacPherson has spent her life getting her identical twin sister out of trouble. But when trouble barges into her house in the form of Bounty Hunter Sam McKade, what’s she to do? Try sweet reason? Tell him he’s mistaken her for her chorus girl sister? When Catherine attempts both, McKade calls her a liar. And before she can prove her claim, she finds herself being dragged from her home and taken for a ride on the wild side!
Between the Covers
A while back Avon offered the e-version of my 1998 book Baby, I’m Yours for $2.99. Since digital copies weren’t something an author received at the time, I downloaded it for my iPad. Now, a writer’s books are kind of like her kids—it’s impossible to pick a favorite. But Baby I’m Yours has always held a special place in my heart and I was anxious to read it again to see how it had held up.
I’m soooo happy to report that, in, okay, my not-so-humble opinion, this book still kicks serious booty! I was enjoying it immensely when I came to a screeching halt on what would be page 293 of the printed version (pages vary wildly on digital readers). That was where I read:
He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he shitted on the ground.
Shifted–he SHIFTED! I was appalled, not to mention pretty horrified that anyone would think that’s what I had written. So I contacted Avon immediately, then, after some thought, posted a warning on facebook and in a to my mailing list.
A funny thing happened, though. I had like a bazillion responses in which the poster said she/he had been having a perfectly awful day. . .until they read that stupid typo. And it’s true, you can’t help but laugh, because talk about a perfect storm of the wrong word! I had people who actually bought it for just that, and when offered a download to replace it after Avon promptly fixed it they passed.
I also discovered that the only reason this typ0 likely even was discovered is because I’m the world’s slowest, read-every-word reader. As far as I can tell no one but me even noticed it. One fan told me she’d bought her copy in ’07 and read it twice, but saw it as shifted until she read my post and went back to check.
So all’s well that ends well, right? And yes, I did just coin that phrase myself. Because words. . .well, they’re my life. I R a writer, U no.
Happy reading, everyone. I wish for you typo free books. ;-D
Awards + Kudos
- Debuted on the USA Today list
- Named one of Romance Writers of America’s Top Ten Favorite Books of 1998
- Winner of Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers Choice Award for Best Contemporary Romance 1998
- A Romantic Times/Barnes & Noble Top Pick
- Waldenbooks Star Pick
- Baker and Taylor Top Pick”This one is not to be missed!” ~ Rocky Mountain News
Read an Excerpt
Sam McKade ran down the airport concourse toward the boarding area, arriving just in time to see flight 437 roll away from the gate. He skidded to a halt.
“Son of a bitch!” Slamming a fist through the air in frustration, he spun around, then brought his hands up to ram all ten fingers through his hair, glaring off into the distance. He was blind to the people giving him a wide berth as they carefully skirted around him.
He wanted to hit something. Man, did he want to hit something! A golden opportunity had just dropped in his lap… and then been snatched away before he could grasp it.
He told himself to look on the bright side. Hell, it was strictly by chance that he’d spotted Kaylee MacPherson in the first place. He’d been coming back from a meeting with the North Carolina bankers who were financing the fishing lodge he wanted to buy, and the last person he’d expected to see at the airport was a bondsman’s client. Yet there she’d been, and while he’d stopped dead to watch in amazement, she’d undulated down the concourse with that killer walk of hers, her suitcase bouncing off her shapely calf.
Unable to credit his eyes, he’d failed to react immediately. But was impossible to mistake her for long– earlier in the week he’d been in the office picking up a check while the bond bailsman who employed him made arrangements to be at her arraignment to post bail. Sure as heaven made catfish, there weren’t two women in Miami with hair that color or a body like that. And by leaving the area, Sam had known damn well she was breaking the terms of her bail.
Man-oh-man, he’d thought there was a God after all. The bounty on her bond would put him over the top for the last of the financing he needed for the lodge. Then it would be Goodbye, dregs of society and humid gritty streets, and Hello, serenity on cool, misty mornings. Talk about easy pickins.
Which just went to show what happened when you underestimated the job at hand. It gave unwelcome teeth to that famous last words thing–no way in hell he should have assumed nabbing MacPherson was going to be a piece of cake.
She was such a dim bulb, though, that she hadn’t even attempted to tone down or change her appearance, let alone travel under an assumed name. Hell, looking at her, a man could all but hear the sultry bump-and-grind drum-beat set up by those well-rounded, spandex encased hips. Not to mention the enormous wealth of red hair that blazed so brightly beneath the florescent lights. There might as well have been a row of flashing neon arrows overhead to point out the way. He could keep her in sight merely by following the path of turned male heads.
A fat lot of good it had done him.
He hadn’t anticipated the new hire who had hung him up at the checkpoint, and for that he had only himself to blame. Now he had no choice but to buy a ticket to Seattle and try to pick up a trail that would undoubtedly be stone cold dead by the time he got there. God, he wanted a cigarette. What a damnfool time to quit smoking.
He called the office to let them know where he was headed, to make arrangements to have the fugitive’s bond undertaking messengered to him, and to get all the information on MacPherson he could garner. Then he went to the ticket counter, where he finally got lucky in a good-news bad-news sorta way. The good news was, he could catch a flight that would land him in Seattle less than an hour after MacPherson. The bad news was, it blew his budget all to hell and gone. But that couldn’t be helped.
Somehow he’d have to find a way to economize on the return trip to Miami. The thought caused Sam to utter a soft, unamused snort of laughter. That ought to provide one mother of a challenge– considering the high maintenance woman he’d have in tow.
Catherine MacPherson’s first impulse, when the doorbell rang, was to ignore it. She wasn’t feeling particularly sociable.
Self-pity, on the other hand, was such an unattractive trait, and one that filled her with guilt– in spite of the permission she’d given herself to take one full day to wallow in her misfortune. The doorbell peeled again, relentlessly, insistently, and in the end years of self-discipline won out. She went to answer the summons.
The last person she expected to see on her front steps was her identical twin. “Kaylee,” she said blankly, and then simply stood there for an instant, staring dumbfounded at her sister.
“Surprise!” Kaylee exclaimed in the breathy contralto she’d perfected when they were fifteen years old. With the shoulder strap of her purse sliding down her arm, her suitcase ricocheting off the doorjamb, breasts jiggling, she tripped into the foyer. Dropping luggage and handbag, she flung herself at Catherine, enveloping her in a lush and fragrant embrace.
Catherine’s arms automatically closed around her sister to return the hug, but she couldn’t suppress the little voice in her brain that whispered, Uh-oh. I smell big trouble in River City. Patting Kaylee’s shoulder, she disentangled herself from the embrace and stepped back.
Kaylee’s gaze took in the foyer and she peered into the living room, then looked back at Catherine, one eyebrow sardonically quirked. “Ever the Suzy Spotless, I see,” she commented with lazy amusement. “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
It was like having a bruise poked with a careless finger, and Catherine replied stiffly, “Actually, it’s much neater than usual. I was supposed to leave for Europe last night, but when I arrived at the airport, I discovered my travel agency had gone bankrupt and taken my money with them.”
“Ouch,” Kaylee sympathized.
“I saved forever for that trip, Kaylee.” Catherine’s chin wobbled for an instant but she summoned her resolve, biting down hard on her molars until she had herself under control once more.
“Yeah, that’s tough luck,” Kaylee said. Then she shrugged and added blithely, “But you’ll get it straightened out, Sis. You always do.” Picking up a fragile sculpture from the little table in the foyer, she studied it dispassionately for a moment, then looked over at her sister. “The thing is, Catherine” –she carefully replaced the sculpture– “I’m in really big trouble, myself.”
Oh, hey now, there’s a huge surprise. It just popped into Catherine’s mind, and yes, she knew such sarcasm spoke ill of her own character, but she just couldn’t seem to work up a decent regret. It wasn’t for nothing she lived as far away from her sister as it was possible to get in the contiguous United States.
For as long as Catherine could remember, it had fallen to her to take care of family problems. She could never quite recall how the responsibility had come to be hers, but most likely it boiled down to one basic fact. Before anything could be accomplished, someone first had to be willing to do it– and no one else in her family ever volunteered. Her father had usually been off chasing one of his get-rich-quick schemes, letting the Devil –and everyone else– take the hindmost. Mama had been deaf and perennially immersed in her fundamentalist church group, only emerging from it long enough to admonish Catherine and Kaylee about the dangers of displaying their sinful bodies. Warnings of that nature had been issued with numbing regularity, but day-to-day problems had somehow been ignored. It had been left to Catherine to see that the utility bills got paid, that meals got on the table. It had been up to her, too, to bail Kaylee out of the various scrapes her twin got herself into.
Catherine had wished for a lot of things, during her adolescent and teenage years, but most often she’d wished that Mama wouldn’t preach so about their sinful bodies. It only made her self-conscious about her own and sent Kaylee overboard to display as much of hers as was legally allowed. Her sister’s motto had seemed to be If They Say No, Do It. And If It Feels Good, Why Then Do It ‘Till You Drop.
It made Catherine weary just thinking about it. Cleaning up after Kaylee’s excesses had once occupied most of her energies, for her sister could rarely be depended upon to think before she acted. Catherine needn’t even close her eyes for an entire montage of specific incidents to flash with erratic, strobe-light-dizzying speed across her mental screens.
Well, some things clearly never changed, but Catherine’s patience wasn’t what it once was. That didn’t negate the fact, however, that like Pavlov’s dogs she’d been conditioned to react to a given set of stimuli. In her case it was to begin searching for solutions the instant a dilemma was presented to her. Suppressing a sigh, experiencing that old uneasy mix of love, anger, and frustration, Catherine bent down and picked up her sister’s suitcase. “Come on into the kitchen,” she invited wearily, “and tell me all about it.”
“You overheard what?” she demanded incredulously a few moments later. Twisting around, she stared over her shoulder at her sister.
“A murder being arranged.”
“Oh, my God, Kaylee, that’s what I thought you said.” Catherine turned back to the stove to set down the tea kettle. Shock rendered her fingers clumsy, and the kettle clattered loudly against the element as she fumbled it back onto the burner. The cups she picked up to carry to the table rattled slightly in their saucers, and the sunlight pouring through the mini-blinds seemed suddenly garish and inappropriate. “When? Where? Whose?”
Kaylee stared blankly at the dainty floral cup her sister set in front of her, then looked back up at her twin’s pale face. “Tea?” she demanded incredulously. “I tell you I heard a murder being planned and you give me tea? Jayzus, Cat. Don’tcha have something a tad stronger? Scotch or bourbon maybe —anything?”
Jayzus, Cat. It was their father’s voice Catherine heard in her head, his face she envisioned, with its ready smile and florid complexion. Jayzus, Caty-girl, you gotta learn to lighten up a little. I’m sure you can scrape together somethin’ real fine for dinner. The way you act, you’d think I spent all the grocery money.
She refrained from pointing out it was a bit early for booze; instead, she silently rose and went to the cupboard where she pulled down a pint of whiskey left over from Christmas. Handing it to her sister, she watched as Kaylee twisted off the cap and added a healthy dollop to her teacup. Then Catherine resumed her seat opposite her twin.
Kaylee took a large sip, swallowed, and coughed delicately. She looked across the table at Catherine. As if seeing her for the first time, her mouth tilted up wryly on one side and she shook her head. “Good God, Cat, you dress just like a nun. Mama would be so proud.”
Catherine looked down at herself. Only Kaylee would equate her clothing with a convent. It was true her white blouse was on the boxy side, but that was because having her breasts faithfully delineated drew too much unwelcome attention. Her bicycle shorts, however, were second-skin lycra. She looked over at her sister, who wore spandex from cleavage to mid-thigh, and three inch, spike-heeled pumps to Catherine’s Keds, and conceded that compared to Kaylee she probably did look fairly parochial. “You really want to talk about my wardrobe?”
“No, I s’pose not. Where were we, then?” Kaylee immediately waved the question away with a flip of her slender, flame-tipped fingers. “Never mind, I’ll start at the beginning. Three days ago, I was stuck at the club without wheels because of this bitch who…well, that’s another story and small spuds in the long run, compared to the trouble I’m in now.”
The club, Catherine knew, was the Tropicana Lounge where Kaylee was a showgirl. As far as Catherine could tell, that equated to Kaylee stepping synchronously about a stage with other showgirls, wearing costumes that were large on headgear and small on material. Mama always used to refer to Kaylee as a dancer, because she’d seemed to feel it held less wicked connotations. In her view showgirl might as well have been stripper. But that was Mama.
“The Trop is really nice,” Kaylee continued. “But the dancers’ dressing room shares a wall with the men’s loo and I tell ya, Cat, it’s a thin one. There are just some bodily functions I woulda been as happy never hearing.” She shrugged. “Anyhow, I was coolin’ my jets waiting for Maria to finish flirting with this guy out in the lounge and give me a ride home when I heard Hector Sanchez, who owns the place, talking on the other side of the wall. He was jawing with Chains about Alice Mayberry, who everyone knows is carrying on a hot and heavy romance with him. And while I’m standing there sort of enjoying eavesdropping and hopin’ to hear some really juicy gossip, Hector puts out a contract on her.”
“A contract,” her twin echoed in a faint voice.
“A hit, Catherine, an execution. Ordered by my boss … and carried out by Jimmy “Chains” Slovak. He’s the Trop’s head of security. And, um” –She cleared her throat, eying her sister cautiously– “my boyfriend Bobby LaBon’s boss.”
Catherine choked on the sip of tea she was taking and hastily set her teacup down. “Your boyfriend? Your boyfriend works for a hitman?”
“Bobby’s a bouncer, Cat. And I sure didn’t know Chains was a hitman. Hell, he’s not. At least he wasn’t before now, as far as I know.”
Catherine wasn’t listening. She was staring in amazed horror at her sister. “And you came here? Kaylee, are you crazy? You must realize this is the first place those people are bound to look for you.”
“No, they won’t.” Kaylee’s eyes narrowed. “And what exactly do you mean by ‘those people’, Catherine? You sound just like Mama.”
“I do not. I just tend to get a little tense when you lead contract killers to my door.”
“Jayzus, girl, get a grip. Sanchez and Jimmy Chains don’t have a clue about you.”
“Yeah? Well, what about your boyfriend, Kaylee? You said he works for this Chains person, this– you’ll forgive me for belaboring the point–hitman, and he must know about me.”
“Nope. He doesn’t.”
Catherine felt some of the tension leave her spine. “Oh.” She nodded her comprehension. “A new boyfriend, huh?”
Kaylee blinked her big green eyes. “Oh, no, Cat, he’s a long time lover. We’ve been seeing each other four whole months.”
Four whole months. Imagine that. Catherine ruthlessly stamped out the sarcasm and said in carefully noncombatant tones, “And in all that time, you never once felt compelled to mention you have a twin?”
Kaylee shrugged. “Not really. Conversation’s not a real big priority when we get together, if you know what I mean.”
Did Catherine ever. It was the knowledge of Kaylee’s sometimes indiscriminate sexuality that had reined in her own the few times it threatened to run away with her. What if she let herself go and turned into her sister? The thought scared her to death and had kept her, if not exactly pure, at least cautious.
Kaylee rummaged through her purse and pulled out a compact. Glancing up from a critical survey of her reflection, she must have seen something in Catherine’s expression, for she hastened to assure her, “I mean, it’s not like we’ve never had a conversation. We talked about lots of stuff. Like I know he has a couple brothers and he does know I have a sister. We just never got around to swapping the small details of our family trees. Or our address books.” She gave the bulging purse in her lap a complacent pat. “And I made sure to bring mine with me when I left.” Her foresight clearly made her proud.
Catherine refrained from grinding her teeth, but just barely. Thrusting her fingers through her hair to hold it off her forehead, she planted her elbow on the kitchen table and stared at her sister. “Perhaps you’d better back up,” she suggested in a neutral voice. “I’m a little confused.”
“Okay. Bobby caught my act at the Tropicana my first night and it was, like, instant chemistry between us, you know? Oh, I wish you could see him, Sis,” she digressed enthusiastically. “He’s like this god, six-feet-two if he’s an inch, with the blackest hair, shoulders out to here, and eyes to die for, they’re so–”
“Kaylee! I don’t care about your squeeze’s attributes. Tell me about the thing with Alice Mayberry.”
“Okay, sure, where was I?” She recollected her scattered train of thought. “Oh, yeah. So, when I first heard Hector offering Chains money to knock off Alice, I figured it for black humor, you know? I mean, Hector and Alice had been so lovey-dovey I thought it was just something along the lines of ‘Girlfriends, can’t live with them, can’t shoot ’em–”
“Exactly what did Sanchez say?”
“He said Alice was causing him grief, and he’d give Chains ten thousand dollars to make the problem disappear. And he told him where to bury the body when the deed was done.”
“And you thought that was a joke?”
“Well… yeah. I mean, who’d believe it could be real? That sort of stuff just doesn’t happen.”
“So what’d you do?”
“I caught a ride home.”
Catherine moaned and got up to rinse out her teacup— not from any sudden desire for tidiness so much as to keep her from reaching across the table and shaking her sister silly. How could Kaylee hear something like that and just walk away? It was hard to believe she and her sister had once shared the same egg. Catherine doubted two more disparate personalities could be found if she searched the world over.
“Catherine, do you honestly believe I would have gone calmly home if I thought they were serious?”
Drawing a calming breath, Catherine put the rinsed cup in the drainer and turned to face her sister, who was watching her with accusing eyes. “No, of course not,” she said, and felt ashamed because the truth was that for a moment she had believed exactly that. Responsibility was never Kaylee’s long suit. “And perhaps you’re right, anyhow. Perhaps the murder was never executed.” She winced at her poor verb choice and knew in her heart she was indulging in wishful thinking. Kaylee hadn’t come all this way for nothing.
“That’s what I hoped, too,” Kaylee said. “But I must have called her a dozen times and never got an answer. And Alice quit coming to work, Cat. I know it’s because she’s dead.”
Catherine sagged back against the counter. She tried to think. “What possible reason could Sanchez have to kill her? There has to be some sort of motive, or else it doesn’t make sense.”
“I’ve thought about it and thought about it, and I’ve got a sick feeling that maybe Alice threatened to go to Mrs. Sanchez to expose the affair.”
“Why would she do that? At the very least it would lose her her job, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah, but Alice had ambitions beyond strutting around a stage.”
“Dancing,” Catherine corrected automatically, and Kaylee flashed a sudden warm grin at her sister.
“Boy, did Mama ever brainwash you.” Kaylee barely had time to see her sister’s crooked grin of rueful agreement before she sobered again. “Maybe Alice thought it was a way to force Mr. S to dump Mrs. S and marry her.”
Catherine gripped the counter at her back as she stared down at her sister. “Okay, but it still doesn’t seem like much of a reason to kill her.”
“Mrs. Sanchez controls the purse strings in that family, Cat.”
“Amen to that, sister.”
“Okay, we have possible motive. But if you were in the dressing room, Kaylee, with a wall between you and the men, why would they have reason to suspect you’d overheard anything?”
“I ran into Jimmy Chains out in the hallway afterwards.” The look on Catherine’s face made Kaylee say defensively, “I thought they were gone! I heard both of ’em leave, but Chains musta forgot to pee or something. That would be just like him– the guy’s entire brain could be high-grade cocaine, and it wouldn’t retail for enough cash to buy a tube of lipstick in a discount drugstore. Anyhow, when I left the dressing room to go find Maria and get the hell outta there, he was coming back down the hall.”
“If he’s not particularly intelligent, perhaps he won’t make the connection.”
“He probably wouldn’t, on his own,” Kaylee agreed. “But he loves to talk, and I’m scared to death he’ll mention it in passing to Hector. And if that happens, Catherine, I’m as dead as Alice.” She looked up at her siser. “That’s no exaggeration. I heard Hector tell Jimmy Chains where to bury the body. Without a body, there’s no crime. With one–and testimony tying Hector to it–and he probably goes to jail for years. I left all those messages to call me on Alice’s machine. If Hector’s heard them and he even suspects I overheard his plans, I am literally dead.”
Catherine pushed away from the counter. “You have to go to the police, Kaylee.”
“Well, um, about that, Caty-girl…” Her twin couldn’t quite meet her gaze.
“Oh, no.” Catherine straightened. “What? What have you left out?”
“I was, like, kind of arrested earlier in the week.”
“You were what?”
“Arrested. It wasn’t my fault, Cat.”
“Oh, of course not, it never is with you, is it?” Catherine grit her teeth. How many times had she heard those words in her lifetime? It was the primary reason she’d snapped up the position at the Briarwood School when it was offered to her four years ago. Seattle seemed so wonderfully far removed from Miami. “Just once before we’re old women,” she said bitterly, “it would be really sweet if you’d accept responsibility for your actions.” God. Twenty-five minutes in her sister’s company and it was as if she’d never gotten away. It shouldn’t be like this.
It hadn’t always been.
“Oh, get the stick outta your butt, Catherine,” Kaylee snapped back. “God, when the hell did you turn into such an old fuddy duddy?”
“When the hell have I ever had the chance to be anything else?” Dropping into her seat, Catherine glared across the table at her sister. “I was always too freaking busy cleaning up after your messes.”
“Yeah, okay, so maybe I haven’t always been all that –whataya call it– accountable in the past. But that was then, and this time it wasn’t my fault, I’m tellin’ you. The arrest was totally bogus. See, Bobby had to go out of town and he left me his new car to drive. Only it turns out it wasn’t his to lend, and I ended up being charged with grand theft auto on the say-so of some bimbo with a legal registration and a bad attitude.”
“Oh, I made bail. But that’s the problem, Cat. I’m restricted to Florida by the terms of the bond, and the minute I figured out that the contract to kill Alice wasn’t a sick joke after all, well, naturally I emptied out my bank account and came straight here.” She reached across the table and squeezed her sister’s fingers. “Come on, Cat, please. This is serious and I really need your help.”
A car door closed out in the street and Catherine glanced out the window. There was a sedan parked halfway between her house and the neighbor’s, and a man was bent over it, locking the driver’s door. Probably someone looking at the house for sale next door. Catherine looked back at her sister. “I’ll do what I can to straighten out the situation, of course,” she agreed wearily. “But you still have to turn yourself in.”
Kaylee released Catherine’s fingers. “Dammit, Catherine, I just explained why that’s impossible.”
“No, you explained how matters became complicated. The fact remains, however, that you overheard a murder being ordered. A murder, Kaylee, that to the best of your knowledge has since been carried out. And according to your own words, you’re the only one who knows where the body’s buried. This is not exactly a penny-ante mess you’ve gotten yourself into this time.”
“Read my lips, Catherine. When I left Florida I jumped bail. I can’t go back.”
“You have to.”
Clearly not liking what she was hearing, Kaylee started to push away from the table, but Catherine reached over and grabbed her by the wrist, hanging on until she had her sister’s full attention. “If you don’t turn yourself in, you’re not only going to be running from this Chains person or your Bobby LaBon, or whomever, but from the law as well. Trust me, you don’t want everybody hunting you. You need someone on your side.”
“Yeah, I know. That’s what I’ve got you for.”
“For God’s sake Kaylee, I’m a teacher for the deaf! What do I know about hitmen or your legal standing in a matter this complicated? You need people trained for this sort of situation if you hope to remain safe.” Glancing out the window again, Catherine noticed the man had straightened and was studying the house next door. He was arresting, with his dark hair, dark brows, and a well-knit body clad in slacks and a white dress shirt, the sleeves of which were rolled up his forearms. She got a swift impression of energy and strength.
“Come up with something else,” Kaylee demanded, recapturing Catherine’s attention. “I can’t go back.”
“There is nothing else.”
“There’s gotta be. Nobody’s gonna believe me, if I go back. Sanchez is a respected businessman. He’s well known in the community.” Kaylee rubbed at the furrows between her eyebrows. “Dammit, I was so thrilled that for once in my life, I’d found a gig at a really upscale lounge. I thought it was my big shot. Think of something else, Cat. I know you can– that’s why I came here.”
“For heaven’s sake, Kaylee, what did you think I was going to do, make you disappear into thin air? Wave my magic wand and make the whole thing go away?”
“I don’t need your sarcasm, Cat, I need your help! Going back’s a no-win situation.”
“I’m sorry, but it’s the only solution you have. You said it yourself, this is serious and you can’t just sweep it under the rug.” Seeing the belligerent angle of her twin’s chin, knowing Kaylee didn’t want to hear what she had to say, Catherine nevertheless reiterated through gritted teeth, “You-have-got-to-turn-yourself-in!”
Kaylee stubbornly refused to meet Catherine’s eyes, her gaze sliding past her to the window. Abruptly, she pushed away from the table and rose jerkily to her feet. “I gotta use the loo.” She grabbed her purse and her suitcase and trotted with knock-kneed awkwardness down the hallway.
Catherine buried her face in her hands. Maybe they should call a lawyer before they called the police. And did one call the local police or the Miami police or– Wait a minute.
Why did Kaylee need her suitcase to go to the bathroom?
Catherine was down the hall in a flash. Bursting through the door just in time to see her sister drop from the window sill to the brick patio outside, she dove for the open window. “Kaylee!”
It came out less than the peremptory order to halt she’d intended when her diaphragm made forceful contact with the sill. Simultaneously, a loud crash sounded at the front of the house and a male voice roared, “FREEZE!”
Identical shocked green gazes clashed and held as both sisters did exactly that. Then Kaylee’s paralysis broke and she snatched up her address book from the patio where the contents of her purse had exploded. She tucked back in the wad of cash that had tumbled out of it and rose to her feet, tucking it under her arm. She rubbed a circle on her chest with her closed fist, American sign for I’m sorry. She hesitated for a moment, then simply reiterated, I’m sorry, Cat. Then she turned and ran, leaving purse and suitcase behind.
No! It was a silent scream in Catherine’s head as she renewed her efforts to get through the window. She had nearly succeeded and was fervently hoping she could break her fall on the bricks below with something other than her head when the bathroom door crashed against the interior wall.
“Hold it right there, sister!” Hard hands clamped down on her hips and hauled her back into the room.
Catherine opened her mouth to scream, only to find her vocal cords had frozen. So, taking a tip from the one and only self-defense class she’d ever taken, she did the next best thing. She lashed back with her foot and experienced a savage burst of satisfaction when she felt it connect with the hard bone of her interloper’s shin.